Investigators' successful strategies for working with institutional review boards


  • This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NR010397). We are grateful to the investigators who generously shared their time and knowledge with us, and to our collaborator, Susan B. Bankowski.

Correspondence to: Juliana C. Cartwright


This study was designed to identify successful strategies used by investigators for working with their Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in conducting human subjects research. Telephone interviews were conducted with 46 investigators representing nursing, medicine, and social work. Interview transcripts were analyzed using qualitative descriptive methods. Investigators emphasized the importance of intentionally cultivating positive relationships with IRB staff and members, and managing bureaucracy. A few used evasive measures to avoid conflict with IRBs. Few successful strategies were identified for working with multiple IRBs. Although most investigators developed successful methods for working with IRBs, further research is needed on how differences in IRB culture affect human subjects protection, and on best approaches for obtaining IRB approval of multi-site studies. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 36: 478–486, 2013